Tensions were high from the word go, lending itself to both sides Defenses early. Redzone stops coming from both sides, left the two Offenses failing to break the deadlock. This trend held true for the majority of the first half, with Rebels hard hitting defense lead by captains Kevin Fitzgerald and Keith Foster providing an energetic, shutout to the initial two quarters.
The second half kicked off looking almost identical to its predecessor, which only served to heighten the pressure of both Offenses, and, the value of those first points.
With possessions changing hands frequently thanks in part to a game high 3 interceptions for DB Dylan Paisley, offense would prove to be the difference between the teams.
Ultimately, it was the opposition who crossed the goal line first, a lofting throw in the direction of WR Sean Goldrick, proved inches out-of-reach for Rebels DB. A converted PAT put the score at 7-0 Panthers.
In the final 15 minutes, the Rebels offense began to find their form, brushing off some of the pre-season cobwebs, QB Jack Fagan began marching down the field with completions to RB Pete McMahon and TE Ciarán Fitzpatrick.
Displaying the dual threat ability that was the cause of headaches for defenses all last season, Fagan sprinted into the Endzone to provide the Rebels with their first points of the year.
An incomplete pass on the proceeding 2-point attempt placed the score at 7-6 Panthers with under 6 minutes left to play in the game.
Both Defenses, scorned from allowing a Week 1 touchdown took the field hungry yet again, providing stops and forcing 3-and-outs for both teams.
A recovered sack-fumble with 5 seconds left to play sealed the victory for the home team Panthers, kicking their season of with a victory. Final Score Rebels 6 – 7 Panthers
Game Report by Calum Walsh
Photographs with thanks to Terence McCann Photography